“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20
One of the things I have learned recently is that, in any circumstance, we must define what success looks like. You see, when we endeavor on a new project at work, at home, or in a new relationship, if we do not specifically know how to measure the success of that project or relationship, then we are not set up to actually succeed. While this is something I’m learning recently, it is not a new concept. You see, Jesus understood that His followers needed to understand what it looks like to lead a successful life, and He explained in Matthew 6 that living successful lives for His followers look much differently than they may have assumed. As His followers, it is important to understand how He defines success and to teach this measure of success to our children as well.
We find Jesus in Matthew 6 teaching a crowd of people. As He taught, He changed the success paradigm and said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (verses 19-20). Next, He spoke words that cut straight to the heart. “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (verse 21). This teaching immediately challenged the listeners’ understanding of success. It challenges ours today as well. Even today, success means more money and more possessions. Success means higher positions. Amidst this view of success, Jesus tells us that there is a better way: storing treasures in heaven instead of on earth. This means pursuing the heart of Christ so that our lives are centered on Him. This means pursuing Christ and not possessions. It means running after our Savior instead of security. Ultimately, it means living for eternity.
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” In other words, whomever or whatever you center your life around, that will become the desire of your heart. So, our question we must answer is, “What will be the center of your life?” Will we center our lives on the things of this world that are temporary, or will we center our lives on Christ and His things that are eternal? Additionally, we must lead the children in our lives toward what true success looks like, which means storing our treasures in heaven. This is a lifestyle of significance. May we seek each day to choose Christ to be the center of our lives.
Although we understand Jesus’ definition of success, many of us tend to get distracted and need a reminder. Take a notecard and write Matthew 6:19-20. Put that notecard somewhere you will see it often. As you see this notecard, reflect on the verses on it and remember that Christ and His kingdom are the things that are eternal. Parents, teach these verses to your kids and take steps to memorize these verses with them. As you learn these verses with your kids, teach them that Christ is the only One worthy of centering our lives around.
Read Matthew 6:19-34 (NLT)
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.